September Is National Preparedness Month

Disasters and emergencies can occur at any time. Make sure you and your family have a plan and know where you would go if you need to evacuate. Knowing what might affect your area and how to get emergency alerts is essential. Visit your county’s emergency management website or to learn how to sign up for alerts.

Build a Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

After an emergency, you will likely need to survive on your own for several days before help arrives. Being prepared means having enough food, water, and other basic supplies to do this. Once you have a basic disaster supplies kit put together, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors.

Store your disaster supplies kit in airtight plastic bags and put the entire kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a backpack.

A basic kit should include the following:

  • Water (one gallon per person for at least three days for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Manual can opener, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Infant formula, diapers, and wipes
  • Pet food and water
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand crank NOAA weather radio with tone alert
  • First aid kit and extra medication
  • Masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Complete change of clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children
  • Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records, saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container

Maintaining Your Kit

After assembling your kit, remember to maintain it so it’s ready when needed. Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

  • Keep canned food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed

Kit Storage Locations

You never know where you’ll be when an emergency occurs, so have a kit prepared for home, work, and your car.

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready if you have to leave your house quickly. Make sure all family members know where it is.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities like medicines and comfortable walking shoes stored to grab and go.
  • Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your vehicle.

Find more information at

Be Ready, Be Set, Go Now! Level 1: Be Ready. Prepare to evacuate. Level 2: Be Set: Be set to evacuate at a moment's notice. Level 3: Go Now: Leave immediately.

Stay informed and be ready. Sign up for emergency alerts at